Friday, April 19, 2013

The City of Decayed-Wood, Georgia

DunwoodyTalk is known for stirring the pot, but also known for suggesting not only a new pot, but a better one.  Today our staff met with high-level officials from Dunwoody and Decatur - the end result is both cities will lobby residents of both cities to join forces.  This new city, DecayedWood, will be a joint venture of Decatur and Dunwoody.

The good news is that the children of Dunwoody will no longer be ignored educated by the DeKalb County School System. But before we jump ahead to schools, there is a road map we need to follow.  First, the City of Dunwoody Charter is burned on the FarmHouse balcony in an emotional ceremony.  Speakers from around Dunwoody can give tear-jerking speeches about the Dinky railroad, the steam car wash, Mellow Mushroom (home to cold beer and fresh hot pizza, made with spring water), and the Major Dunwody (one "o", thank you) himself. The old saying, "When Pigs Fly" will be carved into the large oak at the FarmHouse as Decatur and Dunwoody merge to DecayedWood.

Once the Charter's ashes are swept into a Dahlonega-gold lined urn and buried behind the Georgetown Kroger, the residents of Dunwoody and Decatur will vote to become ONE.

A thin line (2.4 mm) joins Decatur and Dunwoody

And why would these two opposite-ends-of-the rainbow join forces?  After all, Decatur is the left-leaning granola chompin' cousin to Berkley, CA and Dunwoody is the alleged Smart City, conservative cousin to Provo, UT.  Or so we're told.

First let's look at schools.  Dunwoody folks desperately want out of the corrupt and failed school system known as DeKalb County School System.  Thurmond is the same as Lewis, Atkinson, and Tyson. Thurmond could care less about Dunwoody today, and could care less about Dunwoody tomorrow.  As long as the money flows in from the Dunwoody tax base he is happy.  Dunwoody taxpayers have confiscated contribute approximately $150 million dollars to the DeKalb School System.  It costs about $80 million to operate the Dunwoody cluster.  Decatur has a great school system, operating on a budget of $39 million for 3500 students.  Dunwoody has about 9700 school-aged students (about 7500 in DeKalb schools, the rest in private school or home-schooled or paying tuition to Fulton County schools. Yes, you can pay tuition to attend a Fulton school).

Decatur, by annexing Dunwoody, could cut their school tax rate by at least 25%, and still increase their school budget to $60 million, lowering class size and raising teacher salaries.  Hear that Decatur parents?  Pay 25% less in school taxes and get lower classroom sizes and increase spending on the arts and music programs (you know they love the arts in Decatur so we need to entice them with increased spending in this area).  You can also spend more for athletics, debate team, chess club, and every other program.  All budgets will increase 50% just by Friending us on Citybook.

And what does Dunwoody get? Well, we are no longer part of the DeKalb School System.  That alone wins many votes, but there is more. We would have a charter system like Fulton County schools.  We control the checkbook for the new Decatur-North School cluster.  We hire and fire staff.  We reduce class sizes and we have clean bathrooms.  We have a track without potholes.  We have accreditation and we do not have Ramona Tyson as our SACS liaison.   Sounds too good to be true.

And get this, Decatur has a 4th 5th grade academy.  That brings back some memories.  Decatur can open enrollment to the 4th 5th grade academy to those who so cherished Dunwoody's short-lived version.

So we currently bring in $150 million for schools, but we will decrease the millage rate slightly.  We need $100 million (we need to improve what we have currently and $20 million will do that) to operate the Decatur-North cluster and contribute $21 or so to Decatur main school cluster. Decatur parents and teachers and board members - imagine what you can do with $21 million more a year in your school budget!

Two school boards operating independently, but one school system  Problem solved.

Now to the city government. This gets tricky. Both cities operate with around $20 million.  So the new city operates at $40 million.  Decatur is not afraid to borrow money and its residents pay a higher tax rate than Dunwoody.  But there is common ground; Decatur has a Resource Conservation manager (yeah, really) and we have a Sustainability Committee.  Decatur is managed mainly by a powerful city manager, so is Dunwoody.  Decatur operates under something called a city commission, not a city council.  The City of DecayedWood will have one mayor and one council. Dunwoody has 50,000 residents, Decatur only 20,000.  So obviously Decatur North (Dunwoody) would have a majority on council.  But fear not Decatur voters, we have Save Dunwoody to help protect Mother Nature and Her 4" diameter pine trees of Brook Run.

Decatur has its own fire department and we do not.  We can have Toni as our new fire chief and Stephanie as our fire marshal.  We really do need our own fire marshal.  The police forces can join and we can finally resolve the E-911 issue by working with Decatur.  The people of Brookhaven will be so jealous.

The people of Decatur would really enjoy Lemonade Days, Light Up DecayedWood, The DecayedWood Arts Festival, and other gigs.  Decatur has no shortage of entertainment and we can get those London taxi cars taking us back and forth until we get "Old Buck" and that narrow-gauge rail line connecting north and south DecayedWood back in action.


Anonymous said...

Oh, how I love this blog! So clever!

Anonymous said...

LOL! THIS is the Rick I have missed!